Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers is the second game in the Shin Megami Tensei spinoff series Devil Summoner.The story is set in a very advanced place called Amami City, where every home has a networked computer and the Internet is tightly controlled by the government. You and your Playful Hacker friends have gained access to a virtual city called Paradigm-X on the network, created by the Algol Software Corporation. However, something is seriously wrong with this program... as you find out when it attempts to suck out your soul. Fortunately, you are saved from the impending de-soulification by a mysterious figure called Kinap (Redman, in the fan translation) who tells you that you have several souls trapped inside you, and that if you wish to solve the mystery of Paradigm-X you must experience the last moments of those souls' mortal lives.The usual Shin Megami Tensei components are here: devil fusion, elemental weaknesses/strengths, conversing with monsters to convince them to join your cause and an incredibly dark storyline. An important part of Devil Summoner is Loyalty. Devils gain Loyalty if you command them to use moves that their personality type prefers (eg: physical, magic, etc.) and lose Loyalty if you tell them to use a move that they hate. A Devil with high Loyalty is more likely to obey you and even make a Diving Save. A Devil with low Loyalty will routinely ignore your commands and may even leave the party. (Yes, it's as annoying as it sounds.) The only Devil that isn't subject to this is Zeed, an artificial devil who will always have complete loyalty to you and grows not by traditional fusion, but by "stealing" the stats and abilities of devils that you sacrifice to it.The original version of Soul Hackers was never released outside of Japan, though a fan translation is in the works from the same people who translated Persona 2: Innocent Sin. However, an enhanced 3DS port was released in Japan in 2012 and North America in 2013, which included full voice acting, updated art, and other extra features.As of 2013, Soul Hackers consists of the original Sega Saturn game with a Playstation/3DS remake alongside a cellphone sequel released in 2007 with a shojo manga and a couple of novel adaptations.
Anti-Frustration Features: The 3DS version lets you hack your COMP to lower (or raise) the battle difficulty, automatically map out the entire dungeon you're in, automatically give you the full Analyze data on enemies you encounter, or recruit any demon you want regardless of alignment restrictions.
Nemissa is eventually revealed to be an artificial devil too.
There exists a entire race of artificial demons called Zoma. Though unlike the first Devil Summoner game only a couple appear.
"Blind Idiot" Translation: Some affinities were translated incorrectly. For example, Greyman and Rakshasa are NOT immune to Expel. Rather, they are weak to it. Note that this is referring to their stats page; the Judgemental Eyes software gives this away by not showing the immunity markers over them when targeting with an Expel skill, meaning the coding is still truthful to the player. There may be other cases as well.
Continuity Lockout: Downplayed. You don't have to know the story of the original Devil Summoner, but it does allow you to understand several references, plus the Big Bad and The Hero of Devil Summoner appear as bonus bosses.
Cyber Punk / Post Cyber Punk: The creation of Amami City (and the integration of technology) is played up here. Plus the presence of a hacker group that tries to stop a plot concocted by the bad guys from stealing people's souls via a virtual reality game.
Defiant to the End: Azazel as he tells them the Phantom Society is everlasting and that his death is just the beginning before dying.
Demonic Possession: Hitomi by Nemissa. Moowis does this to Carol J briefly and attempted it on Hitomi after his defeat. Later done to Spooky by Satanael.
Casino Blizzardon is accessible early in the game. The most expensive prizes there are some of the best swords and armor in the game, and unlike the other shops it is all available as soon as the casino is unlocked, you just have to be persistent enough to play the minigames until you have enough coins. With that equipment you are basically a demigod for most of the game; you can very easily blaze through without even having to summon any demons. The only things you need to watch out for are demons with Charm or immunity to swords.
The Copernicus Install Program is obtainable by trading a Fortuna(level 30) in the Pet Shop. Fusion Accidents ignored your level to an extent, which allowed you to fuse demons of a higher level than you are. This can give you quite an advantage, notably this can result in getting Salamander and Ara Mitama much earlier than you are supposed to.
The Pet Shop Demons can be used regardless of your level. Which means, if you can complete a certain requests when you are relatively low levelled, you can get a demon that is 10+ higher than your level.
A good example of this is the Pet Shop Lugh. In order to get Lugh, you need to complete the request that ask for a demon with at least 10 Mag(ex. Principality) which gives you a Scathach and a demon with 20 or more strength for Lugh itself. Normally, a 20 STR demon is pretty hard to acquire,but you can get an Ara Mitama or Salamander(which you can fuse into Ara Mitama) through fusion accidents. Fuse an Ara Mitama or two to a demon with 10 or higher STR around your level(which is easilly provided by a demon from a 3rd stage Nemechi, or the Scathach that you acquired from the previous request). Trade it with Lugh, and watch as you walk around with a Demon that is more than ten levels higher than you are.
Evil Counterpart: Dark Summoners, devil summoners who work for the Phantom Society.
Evolutionary Levels: Zeed and Nemechi can evolve. Zeed by being fused with demons of certain species, taking him down a certain evolutionary path. Nemechi does it using D-Souls, and can be devolved back to its original form. Though it has less of a chance of evolving down a path it's already gone down.
Expy: Want to know what Fox Mulder's nickname was in The X-Files? "Spooky" Mulder.
Captain Paradigm looks like Captain Falcon.
Amami City is a real-life one for the commercial/residential districts of Kaihin-Makurai, Chiba City.
Fallen Angel: Satanael, Azazel, Shemyaza all play a role in the story. Specifically the Grigori as a whole are a part of the Phantom Society.
Gone Horribly Wrong: Carol J attempts to summon the Great Angel Kokabel only to end up summoning Moowis, who hijacks his body.
Phantom Society and their attempt to bring control using Manitou and the Manitou Net.
Gotta Catch Them All: One has to evolve Zeed down his different evolutionary paths by fusing him with demons and must unlock the demons gotten through evolving Nemechi. Then buying them using D-Souls.
Grand Theft Me: Nemissa and Moowis must do this to others in order to exist outside of cyberspace. Moowis gets around this later by making a soulless body out of metal.
Our Ghosts Are Different: Onryo, a race of vengeful ghost demons that appeared in the original Devil Summoner return in this game. Six's sister is brought back as one thanks to Paradigm X. Inui and Butaihei, bosses fought in the original game return as optional bosses.
Hoist by His Own Petard: Said word-for-word by Lunch, and Subverted. The Spookies originally intended for this to happen to the Phantom Society and Algon by spreading the info about their Soul Harvesting operation. Instead, they got outed to the public as net terrorists.
The Illuminati: The Phantom Society. It's been controlled by the Fallen Angels of the Grigori since ancient times.
Improbable Weapon User: Apparently you can stick a devil-summoning computer on anything. COMP variations include guns, guitars, saxophones and brass knuckles.
Inside a Computer System: Cyber spirits like Nemissa or Moowis, along with demons are able to enter virtual reality. Nemissa can take the protagonist inside and eventually human souls start getting sucked in by the demons.
Locked into Strangeness: Nemissa's incursion causes Hitomi's hair to turn white. Onlookers just assume it's a dye job. When Hitomi speaks for herself, her dialog portrait is brunette again, but this is just take make it easier to tell who's speaking.
Mirror Boss: Finnegan will summon the same demons the Protagonist has in their fight. The only exceptions being Zeed and the demons you get by fusing Zeed.
New Game+: You won't be able to get this until after clearing the game and facing the five original bonus bosses in the cleared saved.
No Export for You: Neither the Playstation or Saturn versions were ever released in the West, although the 3DS remake has received an official localization in North America.
The sequel cellphone game, Soul Hackers: Intruders, which is set a few months after the conclusion of the original game where the group is reestablished to take on a new enemy. This wasn't released by Atlus overseas. The manga/novel versions are also not released outside Japan.
Phlebotinum Rebel: Nemissa was created to aid the Phantom Society. Unfortunately for them, her program gets stolen by Urabe before they could put her to use. Thus she has no memories and thus no loyalty to the Phantom Society, and by the time they catch up to her she's found more than enough reasons not to go along with them.
She was actually created from Manitou in order to be a backup plan to destroy it should it ever be freed.
Puzzle Boss: Snappy is resistant to physical damage and absorbs all spells. The trick is to keep casting spells on him until he "overloads".
Sharing a Body: Hitomi and Nemissa, though the latter has more control since she has the more forceful personality. Eventually the two start sharing the body all the time when they're not in battle, with Nemissa being the one in control then.
Spooky can be a shoutout to Fox Mulder of the X-Files.
The Frost Five is a real reference to the defunct Jackson Five.
Skippable Boss: During Naomi's Vision Quest, she's tasked with destroying the demons Apsu and Tiamat. You only fight one of them though, as Naomi gets asphyxiated before she can fight the second demon. This DOES come back to haunt the Hero proper in the Final Boss as the choice has influence to the Weaknesses of the enemy.
Some of My Best Friends Are X: During Judah's vision quest, an NPC claims that some of his friends are indian after asking Judah if his saxophone COMP summons snakes and offending him.
Split Personality Takeover: An accidental example: Nemissa spends a little too long in Hitomi's body, causing the original's soul to start to fade away.
Suddenly Voiced: Compared to the Voice Grunting in Devil Survivor and the canned phrases in Nocture the 3DS remake is the first time in the franchise the demons have had actual voice work. This goes for the two Raidos and Gotos in the Extra Game as well.
Swiss-Army Weapon: The COMP. Its versatility only increases as you find new expansion cards for it.
Wham Episode: About halfway through the game, the Spookies' hideout is blown up, Spooky himself appears to have betrayed the team, and the Phantom Society uses its connections to have the team declared as terrorists.
Your Mom: One of the many insults used against you by Romero
Your Soul Is Mine: The purpose of Paradigm X is to drag the souls of those who play it inside the cyber city and have them eventually be absorbed by Manitou. Demons souls are also fed to Manitou